This is a 1998 Yi Zheng Li Ming YQC6460NL.
Li Ming was a name given to cars manufactured by the Yi Zheng Automobile Factory in Yi Zheng city in Jiangsu province. There were quite a few Li Ming products made in the latter half of the 20th century and we will cover more of those in a later post.
Today we focus on this oddity. The YQC6460NL was marketed as an estate car in marketing literature. At the time the Chinese Auto Industry was extremely complicated with everyone making their own versions of the same car with cars often sharing numerous components. In this case we have the front end from a Toyota Crown 133, the interior from a VW Santana and what I am led to believe is an old Great Wall engine. Chassis is likely a pickup one from a company such as Great Wall as well.
From the side you can see the wagon rear end, not quite as long behind the rear doors as a Santana wagon of comparable vintage but still longer than a hatchback. The characters on the front passenger door tell us that this car was used by a court! Often Chinese Police cars and other government cars for courts and such look the same with the only way to distinguish them being the characters on the side.
The Santana interior is not a surprise since during the 1990’s Yi Zheng began collaborating with Shanghai Automotive (SAIC). Shanghai Automotive eventually took over the factory and the Li Ming brand was killed off. Later on SAIC made their own products in the factory with their products continuing to be made there, including the Sabre van and the Roewe 750!
The two English badges on the car.
The manufacturer ID plate showing information such as the model and power etc.
The front of this car is obviously a key to this car being interesting as it as the same as a S133 Toyota Crown, once a staple mid level car in China, now existing in ever dwindling numbers, primarily in the southern provinces. Normally headlights will have the car manufacturer’s logo engraved on the lease, however that is not present on this car. Indeed the headlights of the last S133 I saw did have all sorts of engravings on them
Here is the headlight from a 133. You can see see the word Toyota on the bottom along with some other letters and numbers, as well as a stamp marking near the top right. It seems then that YiZheng got some reproduction lights.
I found this particular Li Ming in a junkyard in Handan, Hebei Province on a recent trip there. It contained some real gems which will be the focus of the next few posts. We hope you enjoy this post, unfortunately information on these obscure brands is rather lacking and extremely hard to find. A full write up on Yi Zheng Li Ming will come out in the future. However, thanks to my colleague Tycho we can share the following factory photo of the YQC6460NL with you!
At the Li Ming hotel… Not too far from Suzhou really, just 200km by road! One day I shall go and see if they have any goodies hiding in the basement 🙂